#28 BRENDON HARTLEY
Booted out of the Red Bull driver clan in 2010, Brendon Hartley returned with a Le Mans win and a World Endurance Championship title under his belt in 2017. Now embarking on his first full season in Formula One with Toro Rosso, will Hartley prove he’s deserving of a second chance?
|Full Name||Brendon Hartley|
|Date of Birth||10th November 1989|
|First Race||2017 U.S. Grand Prix|
With his father having competed in motorsport, it was surely only a matter of time before Brendon Hartley jumped behind a wheel. Born in Plamerston North in 1989, the New Zealander started kart racing when he was six years old. He stepped up to a full championship, Formula First, in 2002. From there he progressed to Formula Ford, finishing as runner-up in the 2003-04 championship. In 2005, he competed in the Toyota Racing Series, where he won three races.
Hartley was signed up to the Red Bull junior program in 2006 and then moved to Europe to compete with the Epsilon Red Bull team in the 2007 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, where he won four races and finished third overall. In 2008, he became Toro Rosso’s test driver, whilst spending the season in the British Formula 3 Championship, in which he won five races and finished third. He could have been in title contention, but suffered six retirements over the season, handing the advantage to his team-mates. The Kiwi became Toro Rosso and Red Bull’s test and reserve driver for the 2009 season, and though Sebastien Bourdais was dropped by the Toro Rosso team mid-season, he was replaced by Jaime Alguersuari, who had beaten Hartley to the British Formula 3 title in the previous year. Hartley was dropped from the Red Bull junior squad in 2010.
From there, he went on to compete in GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5, but had little success. Instead, he moved into sportscar racing for 2012 and made his Le Mans début. After carrying out considerable simulator work for the Mercedes F1 team, he tested for the team at that year’s young driver test. Following a number of impressive drives in the European Le Mans series, Hartley caught the eye of Porsche and signed him up to partner Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard on their return to the World Endurance Championship. After some good showings in 2014, the trio won the WEC title in 2015. They placed fourth overall in 2016, before the trio of Hartley, Bernhard and Earl Bamber won the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2017.
Brendon Hartley’s call up to F1 came as somewhat of a surprise to everyone, including Hartley himself. He was offered a drive at the U.S. Grand Prix with Toro Rosso, the team he had been sacked from seven years previously. Hartley duly accepted the offer and became the ninth driver from New Zealand to start a Formula One race, and the first since 1984. While he showed that he was capable of the job, the lack of reliability from the car’s engine didn’t really let Hartley show his true potential in the last four rounds of the 2017 season.
For 2018, Hartley, alongside his similarly inexperienced team-mate, will have Honda power. Hopefully the Japanese manufacturer will allow the Kiwi to put in competitive showings in his first full F1 season.
BRENDON HARTLEY’S F1 RECORD
|2017||Toro Rosso||23rd (0 points)||0||0||0|